translated by Xi Nan

Broken Uterus

An autumn morning
you stood in front of the window naked
clouded by bright light
I almost thought
a fairy had come down to the human world

After we had sex
you told me to be at ease
said that you won’t get pregnant
uterine apoxesis had already broken the womb

At first I didn’t respond
but she talked to herself nervously and restlessly
The uterus is broken
The uterus is broken
let me feel sad, too
felt that human beings were becoming extinct

She put on me lipstick and mascara
penciled my eyebrows
wore diamond earrings
made me pretend to be a woman
She said she wanted to see how a woman
was harmed

I thought I could be an excellent toy boy
Unexpectedly now
must try hard to play a ladyboy

She patted on my waist
encouraged me: Do it well!
If I did well
She’d also reward me a Japanese blow-up doll

She begged it to abuse her in different ways
She said that only like this, pain could be felt

Oh dear
Leather whip is truly a great invention
Let’s get heartbroken
Let’s revel all night long
Bodies harvest
Juice flow

Cholera is rampant today
People are all rushing to hospitals
We shade the sky and the sun, play sex games
We toast to praise the plague
Loudly praise the joy of the deep penetrations

She said that she liked him
only because he was also an inner lonely person

She said she was empty now
left only a pile of flesh a few holes
and a crushing uterus

The uterus is a good place
but no one can get back there
The uterus is broken, broken
even the place for reincarnation is gone

You folded the dollar into a crane’s shape
hung in front of the window
You liked to listen to the sound of wind blowing banknotes

I never asked
how did you, a woman, earn such a lot of money
I only knew that
it was exactly this strong and weak money
made us sell our flesh
thus redeemed the souls

She stuck one-hundred yuan banknotes all over the bedside
said that they could ward off evil
Every time after sex
she mumbled vacantly: the Chairman* is watching us

Yes, but
does the Chairman know our grief?

The last time at a hotel
woke up and found that you were gone
Left a tiger penis on the pillow
pinned a small piece of note
written: Let’s end it.

The Animal Mankind

Let her listen to the sound of wind blowing banknotes
After the body won
he was going to build a splendid temple, at the end of the road.

Beautiful No. 2

Two people ordered two sets of Beautiful No. 2**
Of course there were ketchup and fresh fruit platters
sunlight, tropical subtropical plants, sea water
all the things that reflect the characters and temperament of this coastal town
Like you, your red bra
Beautiful No. 2, yes, this afternoon
between you and me, there were two sets of Beautiful No. 2
Durex or Jissbon
Pleasure, orgasm, and safety
the three elements were indispensable and must be emphasized
How beautiful were those Saint Fruits,*** came from Taiwan, red colour
You liked one thing, which was also red, came from your body
No need to mention, you meant juice, milky white
juice, it turns into solid, like ice
The same solid would melt, into juice, also like ice
Many things would happen when the temperature rose
please be prepared, this afternoon, how beautiful
Through the French window, see?
Many tricyclers were idle, and the madman was idle
standing on the North Bay Middle Road, playing with his penis
Your eyes, beautiful, you used a pair of beautiful eyes
to appreciate a mad penis, black and long
Your eyelashes, your hair—just had a perm treatment done
Be beautiful, be beautiful as you can. For your sexual desire
I had been unable to find a proper metaphor
fire, typhoon, medium-wave of 1-1.5 meters or huge waves of more than 3 meters
were all not the most appropriate metaphor
Anyway that thing was quite mysterious, came as it wanted
Hold it a bit, I mean, don’t open your legs
Close them tightly, be a lady, I know you are already wet
But I, in order to reserve energy, must finish the last piece of fried chicken
Beautiful No. 2, it tasted great, your tongue
made a movement, between the lips
slightly, but full of sexual cue. Yes
you already, already couldn’t wait, you said I am, am going to burn
Peach blossoms, peach blossoms were blooming further than four hundred miles away
It was better to describe it this way: peach blossoms bloom
33.3 centimeters down your navel, the spring was shining
Vulgar, indecent, Beautiful No. 2, I meant, you, me
included too many wretched elements, excited, beautiful?
The sun poured on your skin, I saw the light
I wanted to drive a tank, I wanted to, let you see an unhesitating gun tube
in the sun, flashes the radiance of steel
I hoped that all this, you could see, all this, how beautiful.

Darling, I Cannot Yet Make a Nuclear Submarine

Dear, I am a man who drives a tank
armored with plate, firm gun tube and sufficient bullets
thought I was very strong, very safe
thought the tank could fight against some powerful things
But I want to drive a nuclear submarine to your front door
to your bed, and then go back to Mars at climax
But dear, we can’t go back
I degenerated into a human being, well-dressed, a serious face
desperately ran forward, lost the original things
I am wrong, no way to escape, surrounded by expansive ocean
Dear, that is the bitter water in the bottom of my heart
makes me helpless, confused, become small, return to zero
What is zero? It is the fate of the afterlife, the dream of last night
This growing zero, is the moon of tonight
See, under the moonlight, on the waste hillside, in the grass, a tank, the gun tube drooping, is sobbing facing the wind
It used to be valiant and spirited, let mountains and rivers change colours, let the beauty cry
Today it is solitary, in the northeast corner of Hainan Island
slowly decaying, lonely remembering the bullets that went away from it
Ah, those bullets, did they come to a happy ending, or sink into the ocean?
So I want to build a nuclear submarine, I want to dive into the deeper place
dive into the area where bullets can not reach, dear
It is very far, very close, there is the original me and the last love
Just like that day, the spring began, in front of the ornamental engraved mirror, you put a woundplast
around my left ring finger, wrapped around
wrapped around the illusions in my mind, zero again, the boundless zero
Zero is the beginning, is the end point, the universe and time run along zero
Until it becomes none, until sky waste earth old ocean dried and stones ruined
people will see, a rusty nuclear submarine
forever, alone, quietly lying in the Mariana Trench

Beautiful Girl of the Generation

The room named “Imperial”
The teacher and the student
The brothel
Unexpected re-encounter
Smiled with embarrassment
He ordered
her to serve
She still
dressed like a student
wearing a red scarf
but also put on
a purple tube top
black stockings
He held her tight
got drunk and the eyes were misted
Dreamily went back to
the year of 1983
drove a Dongfanghong**** brand
from the furnace production team
went to the newly-built supply and marketing cooperative
to buy Xie Fuchun*****
to sing a Teresa Teng song
On the Other Side of the Waters
There and then gifted them to
the sales girl
who wore dacron
white shirt
The result was
reporting him as “molesting woman”
by the village secretary who
smoked Fengshou****** brand cigarettes
When he was sent away under escort
in the green jeep
at the golden rice field
that had been applied compound fertilizer
it was the “grain rain” solar term
When sent away
he was holding a sickle
in the hand
The sharp blade was dropping blood
The world is magic and changeable—
many years after
He, the educated youth who could not return to the city
this offender under labour reform
had become a politics teacher
in Xiangyang******* Middle School
Instilled to her
beautiful ideals
the great-ism
Now, at this very moment (in the brothel)
facing his flamboyant student
enjoying wine and song while they could:
“After we say goodbye tonight
When will you come again?”********
Her lips were like fireworks
say: teacher, what you taught in the old days
were not all fake
for example the class oppression, is real.


Lenin lurked on
the shore of Razliv Lake
sojourned in a thatched shack
and took the power of the government by force
Six years later
he said that Stalin was
too cruel
mustn’t sit in
the General Secretary’s position
That year
Runzhi********* was still a student
held a oiled paper umbrella
walked through Shilunguan
—the ancient post road for more than a thousand years
Later Zhongzheng,********** who fought over
the sovereign power of China with Runzhi
converted to Huang Jinrong—
one of Shanghai’s three major gangsters at that time
and joined Huang’s Green Gang
Then he founded a securities company and earned
eight million monies
became a rich man
He should know that
in 1848
who hated the bourgeois
and Engels
the second fiddle to Marx
who was later the scapegoat
of Marx’s affair gossip
and the son of a big bourgeois
issued the Manifesto:
To wipe out private property
That spectre
stuck to 1917
In the year of 1917 (Ding Si Snake Year)
the warlord Zhangxun restored the monarchy
scholars like Hu Shi improved the literature
syphilis was torturing the teacher of revolution, Lenin
After a hundred years
red sunset
quietly shines
the empire’s dusk

Subdue Demons Must Use RMB

The immortal and the peri
landed in the Pool in the Sky,*********** Changbai Mountain
merrily bathed together
The fat man next door
after peeping
rode an intercontinental nuclear missile
to travel around the world
Left the old bachelor
squatting in the jail
printing bogus banknotes in a hurry
The red fox smelt money
its desires spurted
stepped a voluptuous dance
exposing a gecko’s small tail
At the orgasm moment
turned into a black-bone chicken************
then transmuted into White Phoenix bolus*************
Pretended to be an aphrodisiac
tempted the judge
to produce unjust cases
A scholar was sentenced to death
the live liver and kidneys were taken away
to go with wine
The humanistic atmosphere was dark
Heaven and earth were upside-down
Light and shade mated in chaos
The thunder in early spring
woke up the Yellow Emperor**************
Having returned from dreams
imparted coition guides
The immortal held a thousand-year-old tiger penis
took out three hundred yuan banknotes
from between the two legs
stuck to the peri’s
mouth of hole with lush water grass.

The World is Unknown

Have forgotten the hometown…the name of the wild fruits, the taste of the earth
No longer able to use the dialect to greet and bless
It has been so many years, the world is unknown
Who remembers the first sunrise, the last moonset
Who can see the coming way that goes far gradually and the lighting-off way home?

The Second Generation of a Prostitute

Zhao Xiaoyan was back
Like long-lost first lovers
they were sitting on the shore
Celosia argentea swung
The autumn wind blew the river’s surface, the sun poured down radiance on the waves
Same as fifteen years ago
she exuded the smell of wormwood
In her childhood
her mother who worked on a farm taught her
to frequently light a wormwood
so that bad guys can’t take away from her
good things
She said she was
a nostalgic prostitute
once had returned to where they first met
The brothel of that year
had become a kindergarten
Recalled some details of the past
they looked at each other and smiled with embarrassment
She was still easy to be shy
thus in the past
was not a good prostitute
The suburb was secluded
they did not
go crazy sex in the wildflowers
just relaxed and lazily reclined
talked about the old days
occasionally touched each other’s face
watched the airplanes in the sky flew far gradually
Zhao Xiaoyan said that she
wanted to go to Amsterdam
That was her
Jerusalem, her Lumpinī
The dream in her years of prostitution
like her breasts
was still fleshy
The sunset glowed
her body was bright
After a long silence
Zhao Xiaoyan suddenly said
her daughter in grade 7 in the old town
should be off school at this time.


* Chairman: Chairman Mao Zedong’s image is printed on all one-hundred yuan banknotes.

** Beautiful No. 2: the name of a food combo.

*** Saint Fruit: a nickname for small tomatoes in China.

**** Dongfanghong (东方红): literally means “oriental red” in Chinese.

***** Xie Fuchan (谢馥春): the first cosmetics company founded in China.

****** Fengshou (丰收): literally means “harvest” in Chinese.

******* Xiangyang (向阳): literally means “facing the sun” in Chinese.

******** This is a lyric from one of Teresa Teng’s (邓丽君) songs.

********* Runzhi (润之): the courtesy name of Mao Zedong, who was the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1976.

********** Zhongzheng (中正): the courtesy name of Chiang Kai-shek, who served as the leader of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1949.

*********** Pool in the Sky (天池): a lake in Changbai Mountain, Jilin Province, northeastern China.

************ “Chicken” and “prostitute” are pronounced the same in Chinese in some circumstances.

************* White Lotus bolus of black-bone chicken (乌鸡白凤丸): a Chinese medicine used to treat irregular menstruation.

************** Yellow Emperor: the forerunner of traditional Chinese culture, according to legends.

About the Translator

Xi Nan, poet, writer, translator, has published books of different genres (in China).


“Broken Uterus,” “Beautiful No. 2,” “Darling, I Cannot Yet Make a Nuclear Submarine,” “Beautiful Girl of the Generation,” “1917,” “Subdue Demons Must Use RMB,” “The World is Unknown,” and “The Second Generation of a Prostitute” are excerpts from Cai Gentan’s new poetry chapbook, Broken Uterus. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.